Sanskrit Primers: Shulman

Richard Salomon rsalomon at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Wed Jul 23 23:16:38 UTC 2008

Shulman's textbook has been very enthusiastically recommended to me by 
students who have used it. Let's hope the English version comes out soon.

Rich Salomon

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stella Sandahl" <ssandahl at SYMPATICO.CA>
Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 5:20 AM
Subject: Re: Sanskrit Primers: R. Antoine's Sanskrit Manual

> Dear Colleagues,
> Good old Antoine! I think it is still relatively easy to get copies  in 
> India. Unfortunately, the one I used to have (in two volumes) was  printed 
> in India and was very difficult to read because of the so  badly printed 
> (and too small) devanagari script, not to speak of the  many printing 
> errors. But it was - and remains - a very thorough  introduction to 
> Sanskrit along with Kale's grammar (which suffers  from the same printing 
> defects).
> There seems to be an amazing array of published and unpublished  Sanskrit 
> primers which I have been made aware of through kind  communications from 
> many colleagues. Mille grazie! Personally I would  have liked to try out 
> David Shulman's superb primer.  Unfortunately  it is in Hebrew, and the 
> English translation is not yet out.  Maurer   caught my attention because 
> it is amusing with chapters like "The  mysterious gerund" and "The Romance 
> of compounds" apart from being  very well organized.
> Coulson has too much transliteration, and since it is a teach- 
> yourself-book, there is a key to all the exercises which is counter- 
> productive in a class room. Killingley introduces the devanagari  script 
> only in lesson 23. Here in Canada, where more than half (and  sometimes 
> all) of the students are of Indian origin, a text book  using so much 
> transliteration will be perceived as arrogant Western  neo-colonialism. 
> And even the least gifted student usually learns the  script in two 
> weeks - that's when I stop transliterating.
> There is no ideal text book out there - but there are many very good 
> ones. All of them have their strong and weak points. As the grammar 
> doesn't change from one year the only thing an instructor can change  is 
> the text book.
> Best regards to all
> Stella Sandahl
> Stella Sandahl
> ssandahl at
> On 22-Jul-08, at 5:09 AM, Christophe Vielle wrote:
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> I dare to add another Sanskrit primer to the other excellent ones 
>> (Coulson, Deshpande, etc.) which could have been quoted in the 
>> discussion.
>> Some years ago, I heard through an Indian friend (a Syriac scholar  from 
>> Kottayam) about the high value of the Sanskrit Manual of  Father R. 
>> Antoine s.j., a Belgian scholar who taught in St.  Xavier's College, 
>> Calcutta(cf. :  Robert Antoine: The 
>> Indologist by J Felix Raj, SJ).
>> More recently, Prof. Winand Callewaert, from the University of  Leuven, 
>> told me that he was also using Antoine's manual for his 1st  year 
>> Sanskrit students.
>> I finally got an exemplar of this manual through an antiquarian 
>> bookseller.
>> The "Part I" is in two volumes entitled "A Sanskrit Manual for High 
>> schools" and "Book of Exercises for the Sanskrit Manual" (1953,  Catholic 
>> Press, Ranchi; a think that there was in the seventies a  reprint in one 
>> vol.). The 26 lessons, supposed to cover "the matter  of the first three 
>> years (standards IV to VI or classes VI to  VIII)" of High school, 
>> appears to fit perfectly with a first year  Sanskrit at the university 
>> level.
>> The lessons are very clear, and the vocabulary to learn, Sanskrit 
>> sentences to translate and composition exercises well chosen.
>> The "Part II" "meant as an immediate preparation for the School  Final 
>> Examination", joins in one vol. 27 lessons and the exercices,  in which 
>> the Sanskrit sentences are taken from Kaavya-maalaa or  Kaalidaasa and 
>> classical literature (+ at the end a list of "verbal  roots with their 
>> principal parts", "Sanskrit-English Glossary" and  "English-Sanskrit 
>> Glossary"). So, at the end of High school, it was  at that time possible 
>> to acquire a Sanskrit level as good as here  the level of Greek and Latin 
>> of my forefathers... (which is now  only possible to acquire at the 
>> University).
>> Despite a few misprints to be corrected, the Manual deserves to be 
>> reprinted.
>> I shall try with 1st year students the vol. I for the coming  academic 
>> year.
>> With best wishes,
>> Christophe Vielle
>> -- 

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